New Trump Administration Proposal Making Asylum Applications More Difficult

The Trump Administration unveiled a new proposal on Wednesday that would make it more difficult for foreign nationals to claim asylum. Asylum is a humanitarian immigration benefit applied for by individuals who fear severe harm or persecution if they return to their country of origin. For more information on asylum and other humanitarian relief, please click here. The asylum program has undergone many changes since 2016, including eliminating domestic violence victim’s eligibility to apply for asylum, proposal to charge a fee for previously free asylum applications, and eliminating the 30 day guarantee for asylum work permit applications.

Under the current rules, after sending in an affirmative asylum application, the applicant will be given an asylum hearing to prove to an asylum officer they have reasonable fear of persecution or torture. For more information on asylum interviews, please click here. The new proposal would allow lower level asylum officers to through out asylum seeker’s case if they think there are flaws in the applications and the applicant will not have a chance to have a hearing. If an immigrant does meet the standard for a hearing, the process will be “streamlined” under the new rules, rather than the full proceedings, which allow for a longer process.

The new proposal would also reject any asylum applicants with claims of being under threat from terrorists, gangs, or “rogue” government officials. It also expands a rule introduced last July that rejects any asylum applicants that did not apply for asylum in the first country they entered after fleeing their home countries. This would mean, for example, any South Americans who traveled through Mexico before arriving at the southern United States border would be ineligible to apply for asylum as they did not apply for asylum in Mexico first.  The new proposal is currently just a proposal, until it’s enacted, the current asylum rules still apply.

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